The last area of your visit to the Birmingham Museum Collection Centre is in the large garage. Where they store many classic cars from various different eras. Many made all over the West Midlands. From Rover's to Austin's to the earliest cars from the beginning of the 20th century. Some of these cars might be in Thinktank now. I first saw them on an open day I went to in May 2012.

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Classic Car Collection in the garage at the Birmingham Museum Collection Centre

The last area of your visit to the Birmingham Museum Collection Centre is in the large garage. Where they store many classic cars from various different eras. Many made all over the West Midlands. From Rover's to Austin's to the earliest cars from the beginning of the 20th century. Some of these cars might be in Thinktank now. I first saw them on an open day I went to in May 2012.

Here we will look at the classic cars in the collection of the Birmingham Museums Trust (originally Birmingham City Council). The following photos were taken during a May 2012 open day I went to. So when I went again 6 years later in September 2018, I didn't take these cars again (apart from if I saw them at Thinktank in 2013 or 2014). These cars were seen in the large garage at the Birmingham Museum Collection Centre on Dollman Street in Nechells.

The following vehicles below date from about 1900 until 1985.


I had no details about this carriage. But assume it dates to before the 20th century, and probably needed horses to pull it.

Benz Voiturette

This Dogcart was built in 1900 to Karl Benz's system. It took part in the inaugural 'Brighton Run' and also again in 2003 despite the appalling weather. Benz first made a motorcar in 1883. He retired in 1903, but remained on the board, even after the company merged with DMG in 1926. He was still on the board at the time of his death in 1929 by which time the company was now called the Daimler-Benz corporation.

Clement Panhard

This Clément-Panhard automobile was built in 1901 or 1902, it was registered in 1904. This light car was marketed in England as the 'Stirling Dog Cart'. The automobile manufacturer started in 1898. The owner of the company was Adolphe Clément. Was probably made in France.

Jackson Motor Car

This car was built in 1909 by Jackson / De Dion. It was a single cylinder wagonette. The Jackson Automobile Company was an American Brass Era automobile manufacturer located and named for Jackson, Michigan, USA. They produced the Jackson from 1903 until 1923. The De Dion-Bouton was a French automobile manufacturer making cars from 1883 until 1953. It was founded by Jules-Albert de Dion, Georges Bouton and Charles Trépardoux. It was probably a Jackson automobile with a De Dion engine.

B.S.A. Open Tourer

This was a 4 seater car built by B.S.A. in 1912 at the Sparkbrook Works. The car had the legendary Knight Double Sleeve Valve engine. It was one of the earliest uses steel panels in motor cars. The Birmingham Small Arms Company started out in 1861 making machine guns in the Gun Quarter. By 1880 they started to make bicycles. They moved to Sparkbrook in 1906 and started making motorcycles in 1910. They started making cars from 1907. The company went out of business in 1973.

Castle Runabout (Prototype)

This prototype was made in 1919 and was the 4 wheeled version. It never reached full production. The Castle Motor Company of Kidderminster made about 350 3 wheeled 'Runabout' light cars known as the Castle Three from 1919 until 1922.

Singer 10 H.P. Coupe

Made in 1920 by Singer Motors. It was Model C. 1124cc. The company under George Singer originally made bicycles, before they started making motorcycles. They became the 3rd largest car builder behind Austin and Morris.

Ariel Convertible Car

Made in 1924 with an Ariel 4 cylinder engine. The Ariel works was based in Selly Oak and they built over 1000 cars from 1923 until 1925. When they switched to making motorcycles as they were priced out of the market by the Austin Seven. Ariel existed from 1902 until they were sold to BSA in 1970. They were based in the Bournbrook area. Today the name is remembered in Selly Oak with the Ariel Aqueduct, which was built in 2011 near the former site of the Battery works.

Bean 14HP Coupe

This car was built in Tipton in 1927. It was a 4 Cylinder, 2385cc, Coupe. The Beans Foundry survived to make engine blocks for other car manufacturers (but production ceased in 2005 and was closed in 6 months by the administrators). Bean made cars from 1919 until 1931 by A Harper Sons & Bean, Ltd at factories in Dudley and Coseley.

Ford Model A Saloon

The Ford Model A was probably made in Manchester in 1928. It had a 1626cc 4 cylinder engine. Most of it's 'working' life was spent in the London area. It was also known as a Tudor sedan (in the US) or a Tudor saloon (in the UK).

Daimler 20 Saloon

Was built in Coventry in 1931. It had a 20 HP engine, with a six cylinder sleeve valve engine, pre-selector gearbox and a fluid flywheel. At the time it would have cost more than £750.

M.G. Midget (J Series)

M.G. built this J2 sports car in 1933. It had an 847cc Engine. It was developed from the Morris Minor. It was restored to working order my museum staff and has been seen on the roads. I saw it a year later in April 2013 at Thinktank in the Move It section. M.G. began producing cars in 1924 by William Morris in Oxford. It has had many owners over the years. Including: British Leyland, Austin Rover, Rover Group, MG Rover Group and more recently the Nanjing Automobile Group until 2011. The current company MG Motor had been producing cars at Longbridge since 2012 and is owned by SAIC Motor UK.

Armstrong Siddeley - 'Foursome'

The chassis of this car was made in Coventry in 1935 but the car was finished in Birmingham. It had a 17HP, 6 cylinder engine.

Rover 12 Sports

It was built in Coventry in 1936 and was a 12HP Sports Saloon typical of later designs available with three different engine capacity engines, the 10, 12 and 14HP.

Austin A90 Atlantic

The A90 'Atlantic' Coupe was made in 1949 by Austin at Longbridge. It drove continuously for 7 days and nights, taking 63 American stock car records. It was the first British car to attempt the American National Stock Car Record at the Indianapolis Speedway. It was owned by the Birmingham Museum of Science & Industry. So probably been in storage at BMCC since 1997 (as no room at Thinktank).

Heinkel 'Cabin Cruiser'

Also called Heinkel Kabine. This was a 3 Wheeled Bubble Car built in 1958. The door of the vehicle opens at the front. It owes much to aircraft technology. The company started in Germany making aircraft. After the war they were prohibited from making planes, so had to make cars. It is possible that this one was made in Ireland under licence to the Dundalk Engineering Company.

Riley 'Elf' (sectioned)

Similar to a Mini. It dates to 1961. The boot in the Riley 'Elf' was slightly larger than a Mini. It had a walnut veneered fascia. It was sectioned by Austin Apprentices. Saw it again displayed at Thinktank in the area called We Made It during April 2013.

Rover 2000

Built in Solihull in 1964. It has a 2 Litre engine and was a Manual car. It was one of the new style 'Rovers'. Triumph almost built a similar model to this one.

Rover P5B Automatic

This car was built by Rover in Solihull in 1971. It has a 3.5 Litre engine. It was restored to it's concours by it's former owner.  The P5B has a 3528cc V8 engine (which was in production from 1967 until 1973). The mileage at the time it was donated to the museum's collection was at 45,462.

Rover SD1 Automatic

Built in Solihull during 1981. It has a 3.5 litre engine. It was returned to concours condition by it's former owner.

It was the last model made by Rover before they linked up with Honda. I later saw it again a year later at Thinktank in an area called Move It, during April 2013.

Sinclair C5 Tricycle

Technically not a car. The Sinclair C5 was built in 1985 by Hoover Washing Machines, in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales. It was a 12 volt electric vehicle and was considered a novelty and unsafe by the majority of other motorists. It could be bought from Woolworths for £399 with a £29 delivery fee. It was capable of 15 miles per hour, the maximum speed allowed without a licence. Designed by Sir Clive Sinclair, he was known for the ZX Spectrum computer. He was ahead of time with an electric vehicle. Sadly it wasn't very successful and only being available by mail order was a mistake. As customers couldn't inspect it in shops before purchasing it.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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